Happy birthday Stefon.
Happy birthday to you.
You look like a _____.
Now what will you do?
It’s time for five-star receiver Stefon Diggs to fill in the blank. He will be announcing his college destination at 9 p.m. today, which is his 18th birthday. The four finalists for the Olney, Md., prospect are Auburn, Florida, Maryland and Ohio State.
For most of his recruitment, there were countless reports and rumors that Diggs was favoring the Gators. Let’s review the reasons why he was pegged to be a Florida pledge.
1. Diggs is from the same high school (Our Lady Good Counsel) as UF starting linebacker Jelani Jenkins. Their mothers are best friends and they share the same mentor, GC assistant coach Will Flaherty.
2. Other than nearby Maryland, Diggs’ mother and family has been to Florida more than any other school.
3. UF running backs coach Brian White recruited him harder than anyone else according to his mentor.
4. On his Jan. 20 official visit, Diggs told the UF commits he was coming.
5. He did the Gator chomp during Friday Nights Lights and at several of his football games.
These five facts had everyone saying Diggs to Florida as late as last week. Five of the six recruiting analysts for Rivals.com predicted the Gators, as did all the UF recruiting reporters (including myself).
Then Thursday came.
From dawn until dusk, there was an avalanche of a-source-close-to-the-situation stories on Diggs. The problem is, all the “sources” were saying different things. A few reporters from Scout.com were still predicting Florida, the Washington Post and Rivals’ Mike Farrell were reporting Maryland, Brandy L. Simms of the D.C. Sentinel newspaper was hearing Ohio State and apparently Auburn made a push late Thursday night.
When things get like this, I believe in none of what I hear and half of what I see. I don’t mean to disrespect anyone’s sources, because I have none on Diggs, but at this point any prediction is nothing more than a educated guess backed by third-hand information. He hasn’t given any hints as to where he’s leaning and those closest to him have gone quiet. Diggs shot down reports that suggested he has already let others know of his decision.
“Reporters job is to report,” he tweeted. “Can’t take anyones advice on where they think I’ma go. Only I know. People saying congrats. I haven’t committed anywhere.”
Going into Thursday I was about 70 percent sure he would sign with Florida. I was told the coaching staff expects to land him and so do the UF commits. On Thursday night, 2012 RB Matt Jones (left) posted a picture with fellow signee Jafar Mann (right) and Diggs (middle) from their official. His caption for the photo was “Gator Boys.”
A lot of Gator fans are fearful of the Urban Meyer factor, but I think there is another former UF coach that should be cause for concern.
Mike Locksley became Maryland’s offensive coordinator in December and made up a lot of ground for the Terps. They got the last official visit and Locksley impressed Diggs and his mother. He’s holding his ceremony minutes away from the Maryland campus at Looney’s Pub, which has generated even more steam for the hometown team. He could pull a Jeremy Liggins, however.
Unlike Tracy Howard, who spurned Florida at the last minute to stay in Miami, I think Diggs wants to do his own thing and distance isn’t a huge factor for him. UF has all the advantages I mentioned above, plus it’s much more elite than a school that went 2-10 last season and hasn’t even scratched the surface of success seen in Gainesville. Stranger things have happened in recruiting, but I just can’t picture that being the case with Diggs.
He woke up at 1:35 a.m. Friday morning and tweeted this:
“Just had a dream I was in the swamp time to go back to sleep.”
I expect his dream to come true.